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The Burden

The Burden

   "Why was my burden so heavy?" I slammed the bedroom door and
leaned against it. Is there no rest from this life? I wondered.
I stumbled to my bed and dropped onto it, pressing my pillow
around my ears to shut out the noise of my existance. "Oh God,
I cried,"let me sleep, Let me sleep forever and never wake up!"
   With a deep sob I tried to will myself into oblivion, then welcomed
the darkness that came over me. Light surrounded me as I regained
consciousness. I focused on it's source: the figure of a man
standing before a cross.

"My child," the person asked, "why do you want to come to Me
before I am ready to call you?"
   "Lord, I'm sorry. It's just that...I can't go on. You see how hard it
is for me. Look at this awful burden on my back. I simply can't carry
it anymore."

"But haven't I told you to cast all of your burdens upon Me, because
I care for you? My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
   "I knew You would say that. But why does mine have to be so heavy?"

"My child, everyone in the world has a burden. Perhaps you would like
to try a different one?"
   "I can do that?"

   He pointed to several burdens lying at His feet. "You may try any of
these." All of them seemed to be of equal size. But each was labeled
with a name.
   "There's Joan's," I said. Joan was married to a wealthy businessman.
She lived in a sprawling estate and dressed her three daughters in 
the prettiest designer clothes. Sometimes she drove me to church in
her Cadillac when my car was broken down. "Let me try that one.", How
difficult could her burden be? I thought.

   The Lord removed my burden and placed Joan's on my shoulder's.
I sank to my knees beneath it's weight.
   "Take it off!" I said. "What makes it so heavy?"
"Look inside."

   I untied the straps and opened the top. Inside was a figure of her
Mother-in-law, and when I lifted it out, it began to speak...."Joan,
you'll never be good enough for my son," it began. "He never should
have married you. You're a terrible mother to my grandchildren..."
   I quickly placed the figure back in the pack and withdrew another.
It was Donna, Joan's youngest daughter. Her head was bandaged from
the surgery that failed to resolve her epilepsy. A third figure was
Joan's brother. Addicted to drugs, he had been convicted of killing
a police officer.
   "I see why her burdens are so heavy, Lord. But she's always smiling
and helping others. I didn't realize..."

"Would you like to try another?" He asked quietly.
   I tested several. Paula's felt heavy. She was raising four small
boys without a father. Deborah's did too: a childhood of sexual abuse
and a marriage of emmotional abuse. When I came to Ruth's burden, I
didn't even try. I knew that inside I would find arthritis, old age,
a demanding full-time job, and a beloved husband in a nursing home.
   "They're all too heavy, Lord," I said. "Give back my own." As I
lifted the familiar load once again it seemed much lighter than the
others.

"Let's look inside," He said.
   I turned away, holding it close. "That's not a good idea," I said.
"Why?"
   "There's a lot of junk in there"

"Let Me see."
The gentle thunder of His voice compelled me. I opened my burden.
   He picked out a stone.

"Tell Me about this one"
   "Lord, You know. It's money. I know we don't suffer like people in
some countries or even the homeless here in America. But we have no 
insurance, and when the kids get sick, we can't always take them to
the doctor. They've never been to a dentist. And I'm tired of
dressing them in hand-me-downs."

"My child, I will supply all of your needs...and your children's.
I've given them healthy bodies. I will teach them that expensive
clothing doesn't make a person valuable in My sight."

   Then He lifted out the figure of a small boy. "And this?" He asked.
   "Andrew..." I hung my head, ashamed to call my son a burden. "But,
Lord, he's hyperactive. He's not quiet like the other two. he makes
me so tired. He's always getting hurt, and someone is bound to think
I abuse him. I yell at him all the time. Someday I may really hurt him..."

"My child," He said, "if you trust Me, I will renew your strength, if
you allow Me to fill you with My Spirit, I will give you patience."

   Then He took some pebbles from my burden.
   "Yes, Lord," I said with a sigh. "Those are small. But they're
important. I hate my hair. It's thin, and I can't make it look nice.
I can't afford to go to the beauty shop. I'm overweight and can't
stay on a diet. I hate all my clothes. I hate the way I look!"

"My child, people look at your outward appearance, but I look at
your heart. By My Spirit you can gain self-control to lose weight.
But your beauty should not come from outward appearance.
Instead, it should come from your inner self, the unfading beauty
of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in My sight."
   My burden now seemed lighter than before.
   "I guess I can handle it now" I said.

"There is more," He said. "Hand Me that last brick."
   "Oh, You don't have to take that. I can handle it."

"My child, give it to Me."
   Again His voice compelled me. He reached out His hand, and for the
first time I saw the ugly wound.
   "But Lord, this stone is so awful, so nasty, so....Lord! What
happened to Your hands? They are so scarred!"
   No longer focused on my burden, I looked for the first time into
His face. In His brow were ragged scars--as though someone had
pressed thorns into His flesh.
   "Lord,"I whispered. "What happened to You?"

   His loving eyes reached into my soul.
"My child...you know. Hand Me the stone. It belongs to Me.
I bought it."
   "How?" I asked
"With my blood."
 "But why, Lord?"                                                       

"Because I loved you with an everlasting love. Give it to Me."
   I placed the filthy stone into His wounded palm. It contained all
the dirt and evil of my life: my pride, my selfishness, my secret
sins, the depression that constantly tormented me. He turned to the
cross and hurled my stone into the pool of blood at its base. It
hardly made a ripple.

"Now My child, you need to go back. I will be with you always.
When you are troubled, call to Me and I will help you and show
you things you cannot imagine now."
   "Yes, Lord, I will call upon You."

   I reached to pick up my burden.
"You may leave that here if you wish. You see all these other
burdens? They are the ones that others have left at My feet. Joan's,
Paula's, Debra's, Ruth's....When you leave your burden here, I carry
it with you. Remember, My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

   As I place my burden with Him, the light began to fade. Yet I heard
Him whisper, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
   A peace flooded my soul."

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

The above story was sent to me via E-Mail
some time ago. It was signed "Author Unknown".
I was asked to pass it along. And so I now offer it to you.

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